John Ferron sits in a federal prison in Eloy. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Ferron, who is from Jamaica, used someone else's identity to enlist in the U.S. Navy in 1974. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Ferron claims that even though he has a criminal record, he is "not the bad guy" and doesn't deserved to be deported. (Source: CBS 5 News)
ELOY, AZ (CBS5) -
John Ferron has been locked up in a federal prison in Eloy for the past three years as he fights with Immigration and Customs officials determining whether to deport the 57-year-old to his native country of Jamaica.
"I have no one in Jamaica to go back to. I have no home or anything to go back to in Jamaica. If I am deported, I'll be in the streets," Ferron told CBS 5 News in an interview at the detention center.
Ferron is sitting in prison because of a decision he admits he made in 1974. It's then he enlisted in the United States Navy, but Ferron was not legally a citizen. He applied as Clyde Anthony Steele, a close friend.
Years earlier, Ferron said he had used Steele's name and birth certificate to get a Social Security card.
"From that point. I guess I became Clyde Steele. Every day that I used Clyde Anthony Steele's name I was afraid. It wasn't something that I lived in luxury. No. I lived in fear of it every day," Ferron said.
In 1977, after getting hurt, Ferron was honorably discharged from the Navy, but he kept Steele's identity. ICE court documents show he later used Steele's name to collect Social Security benefits and even take out loans.
"This is the name that I've been using a long time, so there are a number of things I've established under this name also. It's not that I could have walked away completely and wiped the slate clean," explained Ferron.
Ferron's service record is not the only thing uncovered by CBS 5 News. Records also show he has a lengthy criminal history including drug charges dating back to 2003. When we spoke with Ferron about that, he did not want to discuss the charges, even asking us to turn off our cameras.
"Can you hold on for just a minute here?" Ferron asked.
He was told the cameras would continue to roll.
"I have a criminal record. Yes I know that. I was suffering from PTSD. I was suffering from severe mental chaos," Ferron said.
ICE officials released a statement to CBS 5 News saying, "ICE respects the service and sacrifice of those in military service, and is very deliberate in its review of cases involving veterans."
However, after reviewing Ferron's case, they denied his plea to stay in the U.S. because of his "lengthy criminal record and extensive history of fraud."
"Let me tell you something, man. ICE wants me to look like the bad guy, but I am not the bad guy," Ferron said.
He said he'll continue to fight deportation, hoping to stay in the country he fought for so many years ago.
"I'm still a veteran of the United States, and I still served in the U.S. armed forces whether they liked it or not, and that is a fact," Ferron said.
There is a petition on Change.org's website asking for Ferron's release. You can read that here.
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